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These Are The Dates That Destroyed America, 1865

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It has been three years since I wrote on this subject. Readership of this column has grown substantially since then. Therefore, I am sure many people have not read my sentiments on this topic. So, here is my list of dates that I believe have helped, and are helping, to destroy our country and why.    

April 9, 1865

This is the date when General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Regardless of where one comes down on the subject of the War Between the States, one fact is undeniable: Abraham Lincoln seriously dismantled the Jeffersonian model of federalism in America.

Ever since Lincoln’s presidency, virtually every battle that free men have fought for the principles of limited government, State sovereignty, personal liberty, etc., has stemmed directly from Lincoln’s usurpation of power and subjugation and forced union of what used to be “Free and Independent States” (the Declaration of Independence). In fact, the philosophical battles being waged today regarding every encroachment upon liberty and State autonomy by our federal government have their roots in Lincoln’s autocracy.

July 9, 1868

This is the date when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. This amendment codified into law what Lincoln had forced at bayonet point. Until then, people were deemed citizens of their respective states. The Constitution nowhere referred to people as “U.S. citizens.” It only recognized “the Citizens of each State.” Notice also that citizenship was only recognized among the “several States,” not among people living in non-State territories. Until the Fourteenth Amendment, people were “Citizens of each State.” (Article. IV. Section. 2. Paragraph. 1.) The Fourteenth Amendment created a whole new class of persons: “citizens of the United States.” This false notion of “one nation” overturned the Jeffersonian principle that America was a confederated republic, a voluntary union of states.

February 3, 1913

This is the date when the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified and the personal income tax and IRS were instituted. This was a flagrant repudiation of freedom principles. What began as a temporary measure to support the War of Northern Aggression became a permanent income revenue stream for an unconstitutional–and ever-growing–central government.

April 8, 1913

This is the date when the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified. This amendment overturned the right of the State legislatures to elect their own senators and replaced it with a direct, popular vote. This was another serious blow against State sovereignty. The framers of the Constitution desired that the influence and power in Washington, D.C., be kept as close to the people and states as possible. For example, the number of representatives in the House of Representatives was to be decided by a limited number of voters. In the original Constitution, the ratio of “people of the several States” deciding their House member could not exceed “one for every thirty thousand.” (Article. I. Section. 2. Paragraph. 3.) And when it came to the US Senate, the framers recognized the authority of each State legislature to select its own senators, thereby keeping power and influence from aggregating in Washington, D.C.

The Seventeenth Amendment seriously damaged the influence and power of the states by forcing them to elect their U.S. senators by popular vote. Senators who answered to State legislators, each answering to a limited number of voters, were much more accountable to the “citizens of the several States” than those who are elected by a large number (most states now numbering into the millions) of people. For all intents and purposes, U.S. senators are more like “mini-presidents” than representatives of sovereign states.

December 23, 1913

This is the date when the Federal Reserve Act was passed. This Act placed oversight of America’s financial matters into the hands of a cabal of private international bankers who have completely destroyed the constitutional principles of sound money and (for the most part) free enterprise. No longer would the marketplace (private consumption, thrift, growth, etc.) be the determinant of the U.S. economy–which is what freedom is all about. But now a private, unaccountable, international banking cartel would have total power and authority to micromanage (for their own private, parochial purposes) America’s financial sector. Virtually every recession, depression, and downturn this country has ever had (including the Great Depression) was the direct result of the Fed’s manipulation of the financial markets.

1913 was not a good year for the United States or for freedom.

June 26, 1945

This is the date when the United Nations Charter was signed and America joined the push for global government. It is no accident that America has not fought a constitutionally declared war since we entered the UN–and neither have we won one.

Furthermore, it is America’s involvement in the United Nations that has spawned this pathetic push for a New World Order that George H.W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Walter Cronkite, et al., have talked so much about.

The United Nations is an anti-America institution that works aggressively and constantly against the interests and principles of the United States. But it is an institution that is ensconced in the American political infrastructure. Like a cancer, the UN eats away at our liberties and values, and both major political parties in Washington, D.C., are equally culpable in allowing it to exert so much influence over our country.

May 14, 1948

This is the date that the Zionist State of Israel was created. Nothing has blinded America’s pastors and Christians like the advent of the modern State of Israel. And I was just as blinded as anyone about this subject for most of my life. And anyone who wants to better understand why I have taken the position on Israel that I have now should be sure to read my postscript at the end of this column.

Many–if not most–pastors and Christians believe that modern Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy preceding the appearance of Christ (as I used to believe). But it is much more likely that this faux Israel is a devilish counterfeit preceding the appearance of antichrist.

Since the creation of the Zionist State of Israel in 1948, nothing has influenced and even dominated American politics, government, business (especially banking), the mainstream media, and the entertainment industry more–and all for the WORSE.

August 16, 1954

This is the date that the infamous Johnson Amendment to the 501c3 tax code was signed into law by President Dwight David Eisenhower. This review from Regent University accurately summarizes the Johnson Amendment:

“The Amendment appears to be nothing more than an attempt by a powerful senator [Lyndon Johnson, D-TX] to silence political opponents that he feared were hurting his chances for reelection. Johnson knew how to work the system and inserted his Amendment into a large tax overhaul bill. There was no referral to a committee for further study and hearings. There was no legislative analysis of the effect of the Amendment on tax-exempt organizations. And there was certainly no attempt to understand the effect that the Amendment might have on constitutional rights, especially those of churches and other religious organizations. The Johnson Amendment plainly targets speech because it prohibits statements that are published or distributed, yet Congress made no attempt to reconcile the Johnson Amendment with the First Amendment. There was absolutely no discussion at all of the First Amendment, and Johnson’s Amendment simply sailed through Congress as a small addition to a popular tax overhaul bill.” (Regent University Law Review, Volume 24, 2011-2012, Number 2)

Nothing has done more to gag America’s pulpits and churches like the repressive speech restrictions of the 501c3 non-profit tax status instituted under the Johnson Amendment. And nothing has done more to destroy America than these gagged and muted pulpits and churches.

June 25, 1962, and June 17, 1963

These are the dates when the U.S. Supreme Court removed prayer (’62) and Bible reading (’63) from public schools. Think of it: since the time that our forebears settled this continent, children had been free to pray and read the Scriptures in their various schools. We’re talking about a period of more than 300 years.

Of course, the State legislatures–and the vast majority (if not all) of municipal and county governmental meetings–still open their sessions in prayer, as do the U.S. House and Senate and even the U.S. Supreme Court. But this same liberty is denied the students of America’s public schools.

There is no question that America has not recovered from these two horrific Supreme Court decisions. And since the federal government expelled God from our public schools, it has been methodically expelling God from virtually all of our public life.

November 22, 1963

This is the date that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. As I wrote previously in this column:

For all intents and purposes, the American people lost control of their government with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. With the exception of Ronald Reagan, every President since Kennedy has been completely controlled by the establishment elite that ordered Kennedy’s murder.

A retired Air Force Brigadier General friend of mine (who, before he retired, probably flew every jet the Air Force had and who had been assigned to both the White House and Pentagon during his illustrious career) told me in no uncertain terms that he was convinced that President Kennedy was assassinated by government insiders (with the help of the mob, of course) for two reasons: 1) he intended to disband the CIA, and 2) he intended to dismantle the Federal Reserve.

The assassination of President Kennedy and subsequent cover-up was much more than a killing; it was a coup.

October 22, 1968

This is the date when President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968. Before this Act, the Second Amendment was alive and well in the United States. The Gun Control Act of 1968 turned a right into a privilege and forever forced the American people to bow at the altar of government when seeking to exercise their God-ordained duty of self-defense. Interestingly enough, Johnson’s Gun Control Act of 1968 borrowed heavily from Hitler’s Gun Control Act of 1938.  

Our Founding Fathers could have never imagined that the American people would ever allow their right to keep and bear arms be infringed as they are today. In fact, it was the attempted confiscation of firearms cached at Concord, Massachusetts, that triggered the War of Independence on April 19, 1775. Pastor Jonas Clark and his Lexington Minutemen must be turning over in their graves at the egregiously restrictive gun control laws imposed in their beloved State of Massachusetts today.

The hundreds and hundreds of draconian gun control laws that currently plague the American people–and that have cost thousands of American lives (including the 1993 Brady Bill)–have all come about as a result of Johnson’s Gun Control Act of 1968.

January 22, 1973

This is the date when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, which, in effect, legalized abortion-on-demand and has resulted in the legal murders of nearly 60 million innocent, unborn babies. Imagine: since these two Supreme Court decisions, more innocent human beings have been killed in the United States than were killed in the holocaust of Nazi Germany or in the great purges of Stalin’s Russia or in the communist revolution of Mao’s China.

The Roe and Doe decisions expunged the Jeffersonian principle that all men are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to life (Declaration). These decisions opened the door to a host of big-government programs and policies that have resulted in the wanton destruction of human life both in the United States and overseas. It has created an entire industry whose express purpose for existing is the destruction of human life. It has desensitized the conscience and soul of America. Furthermore, it has forced men of decency and good will to finance–with their tax dollars–the unconscionable act of killing unborn children.

And, once again, another Jeffersonian principle was eviscerated. He said, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” The Roe and Doe decisions violate this principle in the most egregious manner possible.

December 8, 1993

This is the date that President Bill Clinton signed the job-killing, manufacturing industry-gutting, anything-but-free-trade bill, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), into law. NAFTA had been ceremonially signed by President George H.W. Bush on December 17, 1992.  The U.S. House of Representatives passed it on November 17, 1993, and the U.S. Senate passed it on November 20, 1993.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the door through which American workers were shoved into the neoliberal global labor market.

“By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the bargaining power of American workers, which had driven the expansion of the middle class since the end of World War II. The result has been 20 years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth and political power.”

“Second, NAFTA strengthened the ability of U.S. employers to force workers to accept lower wages and benefits.”

“Third, the destructive effect of NAFTA on the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors dislocated several million Mexican workers and their families, and was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U.S. labor market.”

“Fourth, and ultimately most important, NAFTA was the template for rules of the emerging global economy, in which the benefits would flow to capital and the costs to labor. The U.S. governing class–in alliance with the financial elites of its trading partners–applied NAFTA’s principles to the World Trade Organization, to the policies of the World Bank and IMF, and to the deal under which employers of China’s huge supply of low-wage workers were allowed access to U.S. markets in exchange for allowing American multinational corporations the right to invest there.”

September 11, 2001

This is the date that the Twin Towers in New York City and Pentagon in Washington, D.C., were attacked. It is very difficult to not notice the Orwellian reaction by the federal government in Washington, D.C., to the 9/11 attacks–whoever was responsible–including:

*The creation of the Department of Homeland Security
*The passage of the USA Patriot Act
*The passage of the Military Commissions Act
*The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan
*The exponential escalation of the global (and endless) “war on terror”
*The rise of burgeoning Police State within the United States

But many people (including experts) are firmly convinced that the attacks on 9/11 were carried out or at least facilitated by elements within our own government. Which, if that is the case, would constitute the greatest conspiratorial hoax against the American people since Kennedy’s assassination.

October 26, 2001

This is the date when President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act and the federal government’s war against individual liberty began in earnest. This is the exact same bill that Bill Clinton and Al Gore tried to push through a Republican Congress during the 1990s but were unable to do, because Republicans said the bill was “unconstitutional.” But it was those same Republicans who passed this same bill in 2001, because it was now being proposed by a Republican administration. That’s how these pathetic politicians from both parties play this game, folks.

Most of the unconstitutional eavesdropping, snooping, wiretapping, phone-call-intercepting, email-reading, prying, financial-records-tracking, travel-watching, ad infinitum, ad nauseam by federal police agencies began with the implementation of the Patriot Act.

The Department of Homeland Security, the “war on terror,” and the usurpation of local and State power at home have all come about as an outgrowth of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act forever shifted the focus of American law and jurisprudence away from constitutional government and individual liberty and toward a police-state mentality.

March 20, 2003

This was the date that President George W. Bush launched his moronic invasion of Iraq–a nation that had absolutely NOTHING to do with the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In fact, the invasion of Iraq had been planned since Bush first became President. The events of 9/11 were merely the excuse George Bush and Dick Cheney needed to launch their preconceived invasion.

The invasion of Iraq led to the destabilization of the entire Middle East, the rise of ISIS, America’s phony war on terror, and unprecedented Muslim immigration in Europe and the U.S–not to mention the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims.

October 17, 2006, and October 9, 2009

These are the dates when President G.W. Bush signed and President Barack Obama re-signed the Military Commissions Act. This Act is another outgrowth of the Patriot Act and has, in effect, terminated the fundamental protections of individual liberty, which are found in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. For all intents and purposes, the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act (along with the indefinite detention sections of the NDAA) eviscerated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and do serious injury to several others. The Military Commissions Act also expunged the constitutional right of Habeas Corpus.

March 21 and 23, 2010

These are the dates when Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the so-called “health care reform” bill–aka Obamacare. While Social Security and various Welfare programs have toyed with socialism in the United States, this bill is the largest and most expansive endorsement of socialism in American history. By socializing the healthcare industry in America, some 18% of the U.S. economy has been socialized. The fallout and ramifications of this bill are going to be horrific. Costs of this medical monstrosity are already skyrocketing and care is already suffering. Left standing, Obamacare will destroy the finest medical system the world has ever known.

June 26, 2015

This is the date that the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to officially redefine marriage as being between same-sex couples via their hideous Obergefell v. Hodges decision. This decision forces states nationwide to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Not only is this dreadful decision an assault against State sovereignty, it is an assault against the sanctity of marriage itself.

Of course, in reality, it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam what the Supreme Court said; God is the creator of marriage, and, therefore, He is the only One Who can define it–and He already determined that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. But what this decision does is open the doors of criminal and civil prosecution against any person of faith (such as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore) who refuses to recognize this immoral, unconstitutional, and blasphemous ruling.

As I have written before, marriage is much more than a civil contract; it is a spiritual union and, therefore, is outside the boundary of civil government. In other words, the government should never have been in the marriage licensing business to begin with. However, this does not excuse or justify the Supreme Court’s effort to give Almighty God the middle finger and attempt to desecrate this most holy of all institutions.

There is no historical record of a nation long surviving after having legitimized and normalized the unnatural act of sodomite behavior. And an unrepentant America will NOT be the first exception.

November 8, 2016

This is the date that the final nail might be put in the coffin of America should Hillary Clinton be elected President.

When future historians review the demise of our once great republic, they will observe that the above dates were the dates that destroyed America.  

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Sonny Barger, founder of Hells Angels, dies at 83 | USA

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Hells Angels founding member Sonny Barger in 1979.
Hells Angels founding member Sonny Barger in 1979.Janet Fries (Getty Images)

Sonny Barger, the founding member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, died on Thursday in California at the age of 83. Barger was the face of the biker gang that became one of the main counterculture movements in the United States in the 1960s. Barger’s family confirmed his death in a message on Facebook. “Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer,” the message stated.

Sonny Barger – whose real name was Ralph Hubert Barger – was born in northern California, and taught himself to ride a motorcycle when he was 11 years old. It was an American-made Cushman scooter. From that moment on, he tried to only assemble motorbikes with parts made in the US, a task that became increasingly difficult as the world became more open to international trade.

In 1957, he founded the Hells Angels chapter in Oakland, California. This chapter was founded nine years after the first one opened in Fontana, in the same state. Barger was the national president of the Hells Angels, a group that became notorious for its links to violent and organized crime. Barger was arrested more than 20 times and spent 13 years of his life in prison for different crimes. In November 1992, for example, he was released from federal prison after spending four years behind bars for organizing to kill members of the rival Outlaws Motorcycle Club. When his parole came to an end in 1994, 700 bikers came out to celebrate the news.

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969.
Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969.

But the darkest chapter of the Hells Angels took place on December 6, 1969. That night, the biker members were hired as security guards at the Altamont Free Concert in California, where the Rolling Stones performed. Representatives of the band reportedly offered the Hells Angels $500 worth of beer in exchange for providing security. Members of the biker gang had worked without incident as security at concerts for bands such as The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. But at the Altamont Free Concert, which brought together 300,000 people, the situation became violent. During the Rolling Stones’ performance, fights broke out in the audience. Meredith Hunter, an 18-year-old concertgoer, was stabbed to death by a member of the Hells Angels after approaching the stage. The incident was caught on camera and became a central scene in the Maysles Brothers documentary Gimme Shelter, in which Barger admitted the bikers did not have the training to do security work. A few days after the concert, in a call to a local radio station, he said: “I ain’t no cop. I ain’t never gonna police nothin.’”

The incident stained the image of the Hells Angels and Barger – who had the name Hell’s Angels Oakland tattooed on his right shoulder – struggled for several years to change the gang’s violent reputation. “Catholics probably commit more crimes than we ever thought of,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994 after being released from prison on parole. “Probably politicians commit more crimes.”

Writer Hunter S. Thompson compared the biker gang to the student protesters of the 1960s, who paved the way for civil rights in America. “The difference between the student radicals and the Hells Angels is that the students are rebelling against the past, while the Angels are fighting the future. Their only common ground is their disdain for the present, or the status quo,” he wrote in his book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

The Hells Angels were one of America’s most striking subcultures, and their influence can be seen in many areas of society. In one of his books, Barger claims that Harley-Davidson – the motorcycle brand favored by the group – adopted the gang’s ideas into its models. Barger played himself in the 1967 film Hells Angels on Wheels, where he appeared alongside Jack Nicholson. He also had a small role in the TV show Sons of Anarchy.

Barger was a difficult character to define. He got up at 4.30am to feed his dogs and horses, then worked out for three hours, doing weights and going jogging. By 8am, he was on his motorcycle and driving down an off-beaten track. Unlike the stereotypical biker, he wore a helmet that covered his entire face. This was due to the fact that he had his vocal cords removed in 1982 after suffering from throat cancer.

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Art fakes: Disputed ‘Basquiats’ seized by FBI shake the US art world | Culture

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While New York surrenders once again to the genius of Jean-Michel Basquiat with an exhibition of unpublished work curated by his family, in Orlando (Florida), there is considerably more controversy over the work of the artist who died at the age of 27. An exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art dedicated to the former close friend of Andy Warhol, entitled Heroes & Monsters, has cost the head of that gallery his job, while the FBI investigates the authenticity of 25 of the works, not to mention the threats made by the director against an expert who had been commissioned to evaluate the authorship.

Although the scandal began to take shape in February, when the exhibition opened, the FBI raid took place last Friday with the seizure of the paintings with a contested attribution to Basquiat. Aaron De Groft, director and chief executive of the museum, has relentlessly defended that these are genuine works, while emphasizing that it is not a museum’s role to certify the authenticity of the works it exhibits. “[The paintings] came to us authenticated by the best Basquiat specialists,” he told the local NBC television station in February.

De Groft had for months championed the importance of the paintings, asserting that they are worth millions of dollars, until an expert showed up who’d been hired by the owners of the paintings and she began to question his version of events. The director was fired on Tuesday, just two business days after agents seized the 25 suspicious works. The museum’s board of trustees met for hours that day, but not before warning employees that anyone who dared to discuss the matter with journalists would suffer the same fate as De Groft. Hence, it is impossible to know the version not only of the former director, but of any worker at the center. Nor can any information be gleaned at the New York exhibition, a mixture of unpublished work and memorabilia, where organizers are fearful of the devaluation caused by the Orlando scandal.

FBI agents during the seizure of the dubious Basquiat paintings at the Orlando Museum of Art on June 24.
FBI agents during the seizure of the dubious Basquiat paintings at the Orlando Museum of Art on June 24.Willie J. Allen Jr. (AP)

“It is important to note that there is still nothing that makes us think that the museum has been or is the subject of an investigation,” Emilia Bourmas-Free told the local chain on behalf of the art gallery. Cynthia Brumback, chairwoman of the museum’s board of trustees, expressed itself in similar terms in a statement, saying that the board of trustees is “extremely concerned about several issues related to the exhibition Heroes & Monsters,” including “the recent revelation of an inappropriate e-mail correspondence sent to academia concerning the authentication of some of the artwork in the exhibition,” as reported by The New York Times.

The statement refers to a disparaging message sent by De Groft to the specialist hired for the expert opinion, cited in the FBI investigation as “Expert 2″ but who the New York Times has confirmed is Jordana Moore Saggese, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland. This expert, who received $60,000 for a written report, asked the museum not to have her name associated with the exhibition, according to the FBI affidavit. Angry, De Groft threatened to reveal the amount of the payment and share the details with her employer, the university.

“You want us to put out there you got $60,000 to write this?” wrote De Groft, according to the affidavit. “Ok then. Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than thou. Do your academic thing and stay in your limited lane.” The board said it has launched an official process to address the matter. The scandal was precipitated a few hours after the closing of the exhibition, which had originally been meant to travel to Italy.

Facade of the Orlando Museum of Art, with the promotional poster of the exhibition dedicated to Basquiat, on June 2.
Facade of the Orlando Museum of Art, with the promotional poster of the exhibition dedicated to Basquiat, on June 2.John Raoux (AP)

The mystery of the cardboard box

But how did the paintings get to the Orlando Museum? The museum and its owners maintain that the paintings were found in a Los Angeles storage unit in 2012. The New York Times reported that questions arose over one of the paintings, made on the back of a cardboard shipping box with FedEx lettering in a typeface that was not used until 1994, six years after Basquiat’s death, according to a designer who worked for the company.

Both De Groft and the owners of the paintings maintain that they were made in 1982 and that Basquiat sold them for $5,000 to a famous television screenwriter, now deceased, who deposited them in a storage unit and forgot about them.

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Ramón Estévez regrets his name change to Martin Sheen | Culture

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At the beginning of the sixties, Ramón Estévez was desperate. His first steps as a television actor had gone well, but he felt stuck in that medium and wanted to get into theater and film. However, at the time, his name held him back: there were few successful Latinos in the United States. “Whenever I called for a position, whether for work or for an apartment, they answered me hesitantly when I gave my name, and when I arrived, I found the position already filled.” He said in 2003. And so, Ramón decided to create an artistic name by merging the name of Robert Dale Martin, the CBS network’s casting director, who had helped him in those essential appearances on the small screen, and that of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who, as Estévez’s little sister Carmen recalls, “regularly appeared on TV.”

This is how Martin Sheen came about, and owing to his great talent, he triumphed first in theater and, later as an actor in the movies, notably: Badlands, Apocalypse Now, The Departed, and Wall Street. However, the identity of Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez did not disappear: this name remains in all of Sheen’s official documents (passport, driver’s license and marriage license)… and in the actor’s soul. Last week, in an interview with Closer magazine, he confessed that one of the great regrets of his life was his change of name. He speaks with pride of the obstinacy of his son Emilio, who kept it despite “his agent’s advice to change it”. In relation to his own decision, he reflects: “Sometimes they convince you, when you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, and you pay for it later.”

Martin Sheen in 'The West Wing' reunion, last October.
Martin Sheen in ‘The West Wing’ reunion, last October.

Over time, Sheen recovered his Galician roots, the land where his father, Francisco Estévez Martínez, was born. His father was an immigrant who left Parderrubias, in Salceda de Caselas (Pontevedra), for Cuba at the age of 18 in 1916. He left with no Spanish, a language he learned on the Caribbean Island. In the early 1930s, he emigrated to the United States to a modest Irish neighborhood in Dayton (Ohio), where he married another immigrant, Mary-Ann Phelan.

Martin Sheen’s life has been profoundly marked by his childhood. His father worked at NCR Corporation, an industrial conglomerate that began manufacturing cash registers. Shortly after his marriage, the company sent him to the Bermuda Islands where his first children were born. Sheen was the seventh of ten children (nine boys and one girl), and the first to be born in Dayton, in 1940, after the family moved to the US. His left arm was clasped by forceps during birth, leaving it three inches shorter than his right arm. As a result of this, the character that Sheen interprets in the series The West Wing of the White House, President Josiah Bartlet, puts on his jacket with a strange twist of the body. As a child, he suffered from polio which kept him bedridden for a year, and at the age of 11 his mother died. Thanks to the support of a catholic charity and his own father’s efforts, the family remained united against the distribition of children to orphanages or foster homes, a common practice at the time.

Martin Sheen abd Francis Ford Coppola during the recording of 'Apocalypse Now'.
Martin Sheen abd Francis Ford Coppola during the recording of ‘Apocalypse Now’.

He was the eccentric of the family: he decided to go into acting. Against his father’s objections, Ramón, the most reserved son only enjoyed the theater and decided to study acting. “You don’t know how to sing or dance!”, his father told him, to which his son replied: “You love westerns and in those nobody sings or dances”. “But you don’t ride a horse either!” was his father’s comeback. Despite this discouragement, he moved to New York, following in the footsteps of his idol, James Dean.

In the mythical episode Two Cathedrals of The West Wing, he explains how the character President Bartlet reflects the experiences of his own childhood and adolescence. Estévez/Sheen: a practicing Catholic and relentless campaigner against global warming, a man in favor of civil and immigrant rights, he was arrested several times during demonstrations outside the White House. His activism began when he was just 14 years old in a golf club where he worked. He led a strike of caddies, protesting against the club members’ use of bad language in front of children.

Actor Martin Sheen takes part in a "Fire Drill Fridays" protest calling attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
Actor Martin Sheen takes part in a “Fire Drill Fridays” protest calling attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonJOSHUA ROBERTS (Reuters)

And then there’s the Spanish context. Francisco Estévez did not teach his children Spanish, but the Estévez family went back to their roots. Francisco was able to return to his hometown in Galicia in 1967 (just as Sheen landed his first big role in In the Custody of Strangers), where he began building a house, while making regular trips back to Dayton. He would never see this house finished. He died in Dayton in 1974, and was buried with his wife and son Manuel, who had died in 1968. His only daughter, Carmen, ended up working as an English teacher at a school in Madrid, where she married. For years people in Madrid have bumped into Sheen during his visits to his sister. Carmen finished building her father’s house and inaugurated a river promenade dedicated to his memory. Indeed, she has kept the memory of the Estévez alive in Salceda de Caselas.

The Camino de Santiago, a dream come true

In the early years of the 2000s, Sheen, his son Emilio Estévez and his grandson, Taylor, walked the Camino de Santiago. In Burgos, the grandson met a girl, and at the end of the walk he decided not to return to Los Angeles, but to remain in the Castilian city, where he got married. Influenced by that experience, Sheen and Estévez made the film El camino (2010), in which both co-starred and the latter directed. A few months ago, Sheen spoke proudly of El camino, a great success, and a faithful portrayal of his spirituality. During filming, at a lunch under huge pergolas at the back of Burgos cathedral, Sheen explained: “I am a Catholic, and a lot of that spirituality is in this movie. I have had an extremely happy life, with the normal highs and lows of a career. I have survived disease and my family is wonderful [his four children, including Charlie Sheen, are actors]… I believe in a church that does incredible work in the Third World. Other things, like some of the pronouncements from the Pope [at that time, Benedict XVI], are more difficult for me. I live my faith, and it is between God and I.” A few meters from Sheen and the journalist, at the long tables, was a strange group that didn’t not look like actors: “That’s my wife, that’s my sister and her husband, that my best childhood friend… I’ve invited them to come and have a good time with Emilio, Taylor [who worked as an assistant] and me”. Taylor Estévez currently works as a stunt coordinator in California.

Martin Sheen at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral with his sister Carmen, 2009.
Martin Sheen at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral with his sister Carmen, 2009. Andres Fraga

Carmen Estévez says that for decades the family did not understand their father’s deeply Galician sense of humor, until they realized that for much of the time he was not being serious. This sarcasm was inherited by his son Ramón/Martin, and he made a display of this in Burgos. In response to a question about his career, he said: “With my resume full of bad movie titles, what can I say. I’m an actor and that’s how I’ve supported my family. But I’ve been in about 10 films that I can be proud of…” at which point he dropped his cup of coffee and blurted out: “See? For gloating over my career. Divine punishment”.

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